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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Clare, I have to ask, is there a charge session and if so how much? Thanks J

Customer Question

Hi Clare,
I have to ask, is there a charge for this session and if so how much? Thanks
Jim
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
Briefly, my brother Viv (who lived alone) died Intestate 6 months ago. There are 5 sibling beneficiaries and my brother Ron took charge of the funeral and Viv's estate. The estate contained the usual household goods of electrical items, furniture, domestic appliances, personal belongings etc.. He also had about £6K + or - in his bank account. Viv's bank account was closed by Ron a week after he died. The only information that I have been given is by Ron, who stated: "I've hired a skip and emptied the (rented) bungalow", three days after Viv died. Nothing has been heard of since. I have no idea as to what has happened to my brother's property or the money in his account. Many thanks
Kind Regards
Jim
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My brother Ron also 'administrated' the funeral's of my Sister Winnie and her husband Jack and their estate's. In both instances there were substantial amounts of money that went inexplicably went 'missing' and unaccounted for, both four-figure sums. One from the Jack's flat the day after he died.; and my sister's bank account (about £3K) was closed by Ron, who failed to inform the other beneficiaries (well me anyway). I suspect one of my other sibling's knew and said nothing and could have possibly profited from her silence.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's it basically. How do I stand legally and what action, if any, can I take, as I really don't want upset the rest of my family who all 'lean towards him'; and I certainly don't want or involve the Police etc.. Many thanks
Kind Regards
Jim
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HiThank you for your question - I shall do my best to help youWhich part of the Uk did your late brother live in?
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,He lived in the Dudley borough (DY5 4HS), in the County of West Midlands.Regards
Jim
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
After rating you, I lost contact and I think it ended the session before I got my complete answer. Please confirm that you are still working on my question. Many thanks
JimJim
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Do not worry - I will not abandon you!When did your sister die
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
Thank you. My sister died13th Sept' 2008. Her husband died 12th Aug' 1996
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
So in fact all of her husband's estate went straight to your sister?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
I'll try to condense the facts as best I can, but the 'Winnie and Jack' part is complicated. If it is too much for the fee charged, please say, I will understand, as my original question concerned only my brother Vivian and the circumstances surrounding his recent death. The information however, will give you a background knowledge of Ron's rather shady character.
The estate should have gone to Winnie, BUT, Winnie was Schizophrenic and obviously couldn't care for herself. Jack and Winnie were both illiterate, but coped very well as they lived on a daily basis i.e. shopping daily and paying domestic bills as and when etc.; and all in cash payments; and they had no debt at all. Jack cared for Winnie very well and without any help from the family (not needed). I was the only one that visited them on a regular (2-3 times a month) basis.
I knew Jack had a lot of savings of about £2000 (Winnie was entitled to and received the maximum amount of DLA benefit) kept in a biscuit tin at home, plus I estimate, a three figure sum of domestic money. Ron went to the flat and cleared it out (behind my back again) and he said nothing about the money that I knew of and actually told him was there. I thought he was going to settle all the funeral arrangements first and then distribute the balance to the family.
As stated, he also took Jack and Winnie's bank book containing an additional £3K. Winnie should have been put in care at that time, but Ron had Winnie live with him, even though he only had a two-bed house for him, his wife and two small boys. I know now that Ron was attracted to Winnie's substantial weekly DLA benefits; and he also received the normal adult Social Security allowance for her plus the Carer's Allowance too. Whilst living with him, Winnie complained on numerous occasions that Ron and his wife were having all her money (Winnie could add-up very well, her mental condition caused hallucinations etc., that didn't affect her awareness of life in general).
After a year + or -, Winnie actually walked unattended to the local Social Services and asked to be put in care. During the time Winnie lived with Ron, he had given his home a complete make-over (new carpets furniture etc.), even though he was on benefits himself. The only reference he ever made concerning Winnie's money was to inform me that he had spent £1000 (late 1997/ early '98) on a bed-settee for Winnie, which was a huge amount of money back then for an item that can be bought for a fraction of that cost today. After Winnie left, the Sofa-bed 'disappeared', nothing was ever said of what happened to Winnie's money or bank-account, even after she herself passed away. I do know that DLA benefit is a specific benefit payable to a specific person and is non-transferrable. I'm sure that Ron didn't do what he should have done and put her DLA money into her bank account, which is what the care-home did.
Vivian:
Viv was also in receipt of full DLA and Ron was constantly hanging around him since he had been in receipt of that benefit, though he hardly ever went a nigh before then. Viv was very ill during the last year of his life. Last October (2014), Ron rang me and said that Viv was in hospital and the family had been 'called in' because Viv was fading fast. I didn't know Viv was in hospital and no one bothered to tell me. Happily, Viv 'pulled-through' and we had a good talk on subsequent visits to see him. He told me that he had been recently burgled whilst in hospital, and also that he had £6000 stolen from his account, which was odd, because after realising that his Debit Card was missing, Viv asked Ron to cancel it, but Ron inexplicably cancelled his Credit Card instead. The money went missing over a period of time with small amounts being withdrawn at the 'cashpoint'. Ron knew his PIN and I'm of the opinion that Ron 'lifted' Viv's bank card and was involved or was complicit in the burglary. Barclays bank repaid the stolen money into Viv's account. The insurance company replaced all Viv's stolen items, I believe on a 'new for old' basis. I'm pretty sure that Viv had 'Life-Insurance' also.
Since contacting you, Ron has (behind my back) put Viv's Mobility Scooter on Facebook (I don't use F/B myself) for £750, stating that it has only been used a few times and cost £2000 new, which confirms that Viv had his stolen items replaced. I have no idea as to what has happened to the other valuable items that included a 50 inch LED TV, PC + peripherals, DVD players and collections and audio equipment and other personal property. Incidentally, none of my family informed that Viv was in hospital, other than when Ron rang me to inform me again that the medical staff had 'called-in' the family as Viv was again, fading very fast. I'm not bothered with money or assets, what has grievously hurt me, is of not being told how ill Viv was until 23 hours before he died and the precious time that I could have, but did not get to spend with him. Many thanks
Jim
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Do you feel strong enough to challenge your brother about the funds?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
That is a difficult question at the moment. You have probably guessed by now that I don't do 'conflict' if I can avoid it. I am very easy going, fair-minded and generous to a fault. Although I am close to my rather extended family, I fell out with the two of my more arrogant and dishonest siblings (Ron and Joan) who have used and abused my good natured intent over many years; and which came to a 'head to head' in a verbal confrontation with Ron about three years ago. I've kept a polite distance ever since. We were 'close' before Jack passed away, but I detest dishonesty, especially if it involves family and I've gradually had less to do with either of them over the years, especially since Winnie passed away.
As for being "strong enough to challenge"; verbally no, Ron is supremely arrogant and confident and has a very astute, brazen and aggressive way of twisting words and ridiculing people who confront him. I don't have any support from my two remaining male siblings due to Dementia and Alcoholism; and my sister would definitely support Ron.
My intent is, once I've ascertained how I stand legally and what criminality (if any) is/was involved, I was looking to confront him 'in writing'. That way he can't digress and 'dive and duck' the subject; and I would insist on a written reply only.
As regards ***** ***** him legally, as in 'prosecution' (or threat of). I would be very reluctant to do that and it would be a very 'last resort' and would probably lead to my being 'ostracised'; as that would incur the 'wrath of the family', who are intensely loyal. Ron is very a popular member, as he hides his true nature very well.
For the time being, I would be content to 'pin him to the wall with the facts' and await his reply, but I need to be certain of the legal ground that I stand on before I attempt that. If he gets 'nasty, then taking the matter further would be a possible way of dealing with him in the future.
Many thanks
Jim
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Concentrating fist on Vic - write a formal letter to your brother pointing out that whilst he has taken it upon himself to deal with Vic's estate he had to do so on the basis that he was acting on behalf of all the siblings.Point out that you are aware that Vic had £6,000 in savings and ask for a detailed accounting as to how the funds were spent - and also mention that failure to account for the monies will lead you to assume that they have misappropriated and that you will report the matter to the police AND sue him for your share of the monies.I think it is too late to take similar action in respect of your sister BUT you could add the phrase"Of course at that point I would have to reconsider my decision not to take action with regards ***** *****'s estate"I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Clare,
Thank you for advice and your time, it is very much appreciated. I have one more question on the matter.
As regards Vivian's physical assets i.e. TV, PC, Audio etc..; which I believe most have been sold by now or may have been distributed to my other siblings (possibly as freebies) and may include other 'none beneficiaries' (Ron and Joan's children for example), does their 'market value' count as 'financial assets'? These were recently replaced by Vivian's insurance company late last year, including his 'mobility scooter' which Ron has just advertised for £750.00. which is a lot less than the £2000.00 it cost.
Jim
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Second hand value is always considerably lower - but you are entitled to ask him to account for all the contents!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
Thank you again for your assistance. I will keep your advice and contact on my PC for future help and assistance.
Very best wishes
Jim
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome - I hope you are able to resolve the issues

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